Four months ago a friend of mine had an extra ticket to a show and I had the night off. Obviously, I took him up on his offer and stumbled into yet another random show. The bands I saw that night were amazing and I was specifically struck by headliner Susto. Fast forward to last night– Susto was playing at The 7th Street Entry again. There was no way I was going to miss a second chance to see these guys even though it had only been a couple of months so I cleared my calendar, grabbed my friend Jessica (who happens to be one of the TCM photographers) and we were off.
The show was opened up by Skyway Man from Nashville, TN. Singer James Wallace was a very eccentric character or at least he came off that way. As the first couple of songs ended, James addressed the crowd talking about “the uncle that was always talking about UFO’s”. I never had an uncle like that but that description fit James to a T. He had this very strange way about him. He was very quirky and full of personality to the point where he seemed a bit strange but at the same time, there was this charm to him that had me not only falling in love with the eccentricities, but also his music. His songs seemed to be based around UFO religion and futuristic ideas but the music wasn’t as out there as I had thought it would be. It was actually quite catchy to be honest.
With the mix of a normal microphone and an old school telephone being used as another microphone that gave James’ voice a very distorted sound, the vocals definitely leaned towards something out of this world. The band behind James only enhanced this idea of other-world music. The band as a whole had a way of creating beautiful soundscapes behind James’ quirky lyrics and talented voice. The main focus of my attention quickly switched from James to his auxiliary percussion player. Unfortunately, I did not catch his name but I caught his talent and that was enough to keep my attention. This guy played everything from the flute and sax to a triangle and multiple sizes of shakers. It didn’t matter what this guy was playing on stage, he was doing it with amazing precision and a glaring passion for what he was doing. It was jaw-dropping to see him seamlessly switch between instruments throughout the set and to say I was impressed would be an understatement.
The stage was quickly turned over for headlining group Susto. This five piece band from South Carolina had me stopped dead in my tracks the last time I saw them. With an alt-country sound that has apparent indie-pop influences mixed in, I instantly found myself enamored with these guys for a second time. The band members have a sense of passion about them without even trying. It’s not that they seemed bored on stage or anything, but every note they played and every word they sang just seemed like second nature to them and it led to a very organic atmosphere throughout the crowded venue that I absolutely loved.
The difference between seeing them four months ago and seeing them last night wasn’t the music because, honestly, they played majority of the same songs, but what did change was the amount of confidence they seemed to have. They didn’t come off as cocky or entitled, but more confident about the product that they were putting out there than the last time I saw them. This confidence seemed to give their music a whole new edge. It felt more passionate and played with more conviction. The band members were personable last time when I shook their hands and thanked them for sharing their music but this time it felt like I was watching old friends on that stage, not musicians from South Carolina.
The crowd may have been a reason for the confidence boost. Just like last time, the show was held on a sleepy Monday night but people still made time in their day to come out and show their support. I noticed more people singing along and dancing to the music than last time and found myself doing the same. Sure, some people will tell you that playing the same area in such a short span of time is a terrible idea but, when it comes to Susto, it worked in their favor. Not only did I notice more people at the show last night, I noticed some of the same ones from that cold February show only this time, they had friends with them.
I’ve been fortunate enough to catch Susto in a very intimate venue twice now but I think your time to do the same is running out. These guys are more than just buzzing, they are on the up and up and I’d be willing to bet money that the next time they come to town they are opening up for a much bigger band at First Avenue Main Room.
I wouldn’t have been at last night’s show had it not been for that extra ticket four months ago and my daily playlist wouldn’t contain Susto. Never turn down your friend’s free ticket to a show. You may not think you’re going to like what you’re getting into but you’ll never know if you don’t go.